The Ultimate Harry Potter London guide
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Do you want to go where the Harry Potter movies were filmed? Do you need to know where the Harry Potter Shop is and where to find the Warner Bros. Film Studios? All that and more we show you in our ultimate Harry Potter London Guide!
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London and the Harry Potter series
Probably the best-known story in the world of magic is the one about the schoolboy wizard Harry Potter. Joanne K. Rowling’s first novel was published in 1997. There are now seven books in the series. The filming of the first Harry Potter movie started in the year 2000 at the Warner Bros. Film Studios in London. A total of eight movies have since been made, featuring the fascinating adventures of Harry Potter and his two best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.
Based on box office takings, the Harry Potter movie series is one of the most successful of all time. A visit to the mystical film locations, including original props used on the film sets, allows you to immerse yourself in the world of wizards, witches, and muggles. This guide provides an overview of the most important Harry Potter hotspots in London and how to get there, either under your own steam or by joining a guided Harry Potter sightseeing tour. It also includes a few fun facts about the Harry Potter movie series as well as some useful insider tips.
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The 10 best Harry Potter film locations in London
Almost all the Harry Potter film locations are in England and Scotland. In London in particular, there are numerous places that have served as sets for the movies over the years. As home to the Royal Family, London is always worth a visit, but for Harry Potter fans it has even more to offer, as there’s no better place for immersing yourself in the magical world of Harry Potter. We’ve compiled a list of the best Harry Potter tours London has to offer, including transport and professional guides, who can let you into a few secrets about wizardry.
Continue reading to learn about the 10 most important Harry Potter film locations in London and how to get there on your next trip to London.
1. Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station – The Harry Potter Train Station in London
Probably the most famous of all the Harry Potter film locations in London is the fictitious platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station. This is where the scene filmed in which Harry Potter and all his luggage mysteriously disappear through a brick wall to catch the Hogwarts Express. In reality, the scene was filmed on platforms 4 and 5. Unfortunately, this area is only accessible to people with valid train tickets, as there isn’t enough space on the platform to accommodate the countless Harry Potter fans. However, following building works at the station, space was set aside in the main concourse where you can take photos with the luggage trolley on platform 9¾.
The station is in a central location and readily accessible by subway (Northern Line, Piccadilly Line, Victoria Line) or bus (for example, bus lines 17, 59, and 205).
Don’t miss: Immediately next to the famous platform 9¾ is the Harry Potter Shop, where you can buy cards, books, films, T-shirts, magnets, magic wands, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, and much more. The design of the shop is modeled on the specialist retail store Garrick Ollivanders, where Harry bought his magic wands in the movie.
Fun fact: The neighboring Hotel St. Pancras Renaissance was used for exterior shots of the station in the movie “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. But it wasn’t just scenes for Harry Potter that were filmed here; the hotel also served as a backdrop for Batman and 102 Dalmatians.
2. The Reptile House, London Zoo
Part 1 of the Harry Potter movie series sees the young wizard talking to a snake for the first time in his life and realizing he has magic powers. The scene was filmed in the reptile house at London Zoo. The enclosure that Dudley falls into in the movie following an argument with Harry is clearly signposted, so you can’t miss it. London Zoo is well worth a visit, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Tickets and information are available here online.
The best way to get there is to take the subway to Camden Town. It’s only a five-minute walk from the station to the zoo.
3. Diagon Alley in Leadenhall Market
One of the loveliest places in London is Leadenhall Market. This covered market is in a very central location and features some special architecture. Harry Potter fans will immediately recognize the similarity with Diagon Alley. This is where some of the scenes from the amazing Diagon Alley were filmed. In Bull’s Head Passage, there’s a shop with a blue facade that is the entrance to the pub called “The Leaky Cauldron” in the movie.
However, Leadenhall Market mainly served as a model for the film set at Warner Bros. Film Studios, where most of the scenes were filmed. While wandering through the narrow streets, it’s easy to picture Harry Potter buying his magic wand here. The market is a great place to visit, as it offers something for everybody, including great shopping amenities as well as restaurants and pubs with a unique vibe.
The best way of getting to Leadenhall Market is to take the subway to nearby Monument Station.
Fun fact: During the course of filming, Daniel Radcliffe broke a total of 80 magic wands because he used them as drumsticks.
4. Australia House, known as the Wizarding Bank
No Harry Potter tour of London would be complete without a visit to Australia House. The inside shots of the famous Gringotts Wizarding Bank were filmed here. Sadly, the building can only be viewed from the outside, as it is now home to the Australian Embassy and closed to the public. However, even the outside of the building is an impressive sight.
Take the Circle Line or the District Line to Temple Station. From there, it’s only a few minutes’ walk to Australia House.
5. Piccadilly Circus
It’s hard to find anywhere in London more famous than Piccadilly Circus, with its huge advertising screens wrapped around a historic building. This is where the outside shots were filmed for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1”, in which Harry, Ron, and Hermine are seen running for their lives through London’s West End.
It’s easy to get to Piccadilly Circus: simply take the subway to the station by the same name.
Insider tip: Also in a central location and only a 5-10 minute walk from Piccadilly Circus is the museum known as the “House of MinaLima” in Soho. This little shop houses an exhibition of graphic art from the Harry Potter movie series and other works. The extensive collection of prints, newspapers, and authentic film props is on loan from Warner Bros. Studio. Numerous true-to-life reproductions are offered for sale in limited editions. Whether you want to buy a souvenir here or simply browse the set props, this insider tip is an absolute must for Harry Potter fans!
6. Claremont Square
In “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, the row of townhouses flanking Claremont Square was used for the outside shots of Grimmauld Place. In the movie, 12 Grimmauld Place belongs to Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black, and is also the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. You can move on to this destination after viewing platform 9¾ at King’s Cross.
Claremont Square is only a few minutes walk from the famous King’s Cross Station and Angel subway station.
7. Millennium Bridge
The Millennium Bridge links the City of London to the borough of Southwark and enables pedestrians to cross the Thames without getting their feet wet. It also offers a fabulous view of Tower Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral. In the sixth movie in the Harry Potter series, the Millennium Bridge is the setting for some of the most important scenes.
The bridge is approximately a 7-minute walk from Blackfriars subway station (on the Circle and District Lines).
8. London City Hall
London City Hall is the headquarters of the Greater London Authority and features in one of the early scenes of the movie “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, despite the fact that this beautiful, modern building is not even mentioned in the books. In the movie, City Hall staff witness the dementor attack on the Millennium Bridge.
The best way of getting to London City Hall is to take the subway to London Bridge and then walk the last few yards.
9. Harrow School
In real life, the classroom of wizardry, in which tiny Professor Flitwick teaches, is the Fourth Form Room at Harrow Boarding School. This amazing building is a historic boys’ school dating back to the 16th century. A tour of the school not only allows you to view the famous classroom from the movies but also to experience the atmosphere of a first-rate British boarding school.
Harrow School is within easy reach of King’s Cross Station.
10. Surbiton Railway Station
In “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, Harry is seen sitting in a café at this station, reading about the attacks on the Millennium Bridge. This is also where Harry was once picked up by Dumbledore. The station is located a little further outside the city center, to the southwest of London.
Fun fact: “Dumbledore” is an old-fashioned English word for “bumblebee”.
Would you like to explore other film sets of Hollywood productions while you’re in London? In our article about famous film locations in London we tell you where the world-famous scenes from James Bond and Sherlock were shot.
Harry Potter Tours in London and Oxford
Would you like to experience the magical world of Harry Potter at first-hand and see where the most important scenes were filmed all in one day? For an uncomplicated and stress-free tour of London, we recommend the popular Harry Potter Tour London. There are a wide range of tours to suit all tastes. One option is to explore London on a 21/2 hour walking tour for muggles. The tour not only takes you to the film locations such as Platform 9¾ and the real-life Diagon Alley but also provides an opportunity to explore this magical city on foot. Another way of getting to see where the Harry Potter movies were filmed is to take a classic bus tour or a private tour in a traditional London cab.
There are also some very special film locations to explore in Oxford. Experience the magical atmosphere while strolling through enchanting alleys flanked with ivy-covered buildings, as well as hidden passageways, huge dining halls, and impressive libraries. You’ll pass the Bodleian Library, Christ Church College, and other famous sights. The Harry Potter Tour of Oxford can either be booked separately or as part of an all-inclusive tour. The latter includes some of the film locations in London, the Warner Bros. Film Studios in London, and the famous sights in Oxford.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
In addition to the Harry Potter film locations in London, there’s another wonderful attraction that’s an absolute must for serious Potter fans. The Harry Potter Studio London. All the Harry Potter movies were produced by Leavesden Film Studios and handed over to Warner Brothers at the end of the contract. A tour of the studios provides an opportunity to view the original film sets, including the Great Hall, Hagrid’s hut, and Dumbledore’s office. Other things to be found at the Harry Potter Studios are a scale model of Hogwarts, original costumes and props, cafés serving the famous butterbeer, and a shop selling attractive souvenirs.
Our tip: Plan your visit at least 20 days in advance. Tickets always sell out quickly.
Here’s how to get hold of tickets!
We often receive emails from muggles who haven’t been able to get tickets for the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Although we recommend ordering tickets as early as possible, it’s worth checking whether tickets are available from other vendors for your travel dates. Each vendor is allowed a certain ticket quota, which may of course sell at different rates.
Insider tip: In “real life”, Hogwarts is located in Northumberland, not far from the Scottish border. Alnwick Castle, dating back to the Middle Ages, serves as the setting for the school of wizardry in the first two movies. The castle is open to the public from March through October, and proper Hogwarts parties even take place there on certain days.
Would you like to know more about the Warner Bros. Harry Potter London Tour? We’ve already done it. To learn about our fascinating experiences, see our report on the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Here’s our personal report:
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: the London Theatre play!
Since July 2016, there’s been another reason for Harry Potter fans to visit London: a play about the latest adventures of Harry, Hermione, and Ron that’s showing at the magnificent Palace Theatre in Soho! The story begins about 19 years after “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” and tells the story of the adult Harry, now working at the Ministry of Magic, and his son Albus Severus, who is about to start his first year at Hogwarts School.
As you can imagine, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is incredibly successful: within the space of two years, it has become one of the most popular plays showing in London’s West End. If you want to immerse yourself in the world of the grown-up Harry on your trip to London, you should definitely plan your visit well in advance – and take plenty of cash with you, as the tickets are far from cheap. True fans won’t be put off by that, of course!
You can choose how you want to watch the play, which is divided into two parts lasting 160 minutes each: in separate performances or consecutively on one day. Here’s an overview of the tickets available:
Book tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
The best Harry Potter Stores in London
If you’re still looking for the perfect souvenir for your Harry Potter-crazy friends or yourselves, we can certainly recommend the three shops listed below!
1. The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 93/4
The first port of call for all manner of Harry Potter merchandise is definitely the fan shop at King’s Cross Station, directly on the legendary platform 93/4. In addition to the usual fan merchandise, this shop also carries a few exclusive items. If you can’t make it to King’s Cross, take a look at their online shop.
2. The Harry Potter shops at Warner Bros. Studios
If you decide to visit the Harry Potter Studios, you’ll find some great souvenirs in the two on-site shops, which sell everything the Potter universe has to offer – from confectionery to magic wands and Hogwarts’ school uniform.
3. House of MinaLima in Soho
At the House of MinaLima in Soho, the graphic design duo consisting of Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima showcases exhibits from their cooperation with Warner Bros. on the Harry Potter movies. This little shop selling unique merchandise, including great posters, is a must-see for all Harry Potter fans!
I love traveling in Europe and I am passionate about writing about my travels. The cultural peculiarities of each region always fascinate me. I enjoy exploring and discovering the best-kept secrets of each town or village. I love road trips as much as city breaks; I love visiting an art gallery and also the magic of musicals or discovering new delicacies in a street market. In this blog, I write about all my travel adventures and my best tips and tricks! Auf Loving Travel schreibe ich über alle meine Reiseerlebnisse und gebe euch meine besten Tipps und Tricks!
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